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Trucks: Hornaday beats dominant Bowyer

An early call to try a fuel-mileage strategy was Ron Hornaday's only hope of beating the utterly dominant Clint Bowyer at Atlanta: and the old master made it work perfectly.
Veteran Camping World Truck Series racer Ron Hornaday Jr. pulled off a surprise victory against his teammate for the day Clint Bowyer, who despite being dominant for most of the night finally succumbed to Hornaday's fuel-mileage strategy in Friday's Good Sam Club 200 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bowyer had looked unbeatable for pretty much the whole night, building up a 4.869s lead in just the first 19 laps of the 1.54 before the first caution of the night came out for Cole Whitt's #60 engine blowing up.

After an accident involving Johanna Long and BJ McLeod on lap 38 brought out the second caution, Kyle Busch took the lead at the restart but clearly didn't have the same raw speed that Bowyer did and was unable to pull away. By lap 53 Bowyer had won a lengthy side-by-side battle with Busch to be able to start pulling out another huge lead, and when the fifth and final caution of the night flew for Timothy Peters spinning in turn 4 on lap 77, Bowyer was untroubled and was soon pulling away again at the restart.

Bowyer had a 6.239s lead over Busch when Kyle came in for his final pit stop on lap 110. Concentrating on the threat of the #18, Bowyer came in next time around to make sure that he too had new tyres for the remaining laps and wasn't caught out.

That was Ron Hornaday's moment to strike: the 53-year-old Truck Series master stayed out to assume the lead, giving up the edge of new tyres and instead playing the fuel mileage game - having last stopped on lap 75 and immediately starting to save gas. He just managed to outrun Bowyer to the chequered flag as a result.

"I told [the crew], 'We don't have the best truck, but we can win by fuel mileage,'" said Hornaday. "See that trophy? We stole it tonight, but I'll take it any way we can get it ... That's cool!"

"I got beat by a guy who snookered me," conceded Bowyer, who admitted that he had needed just one or two laps more to outpace the leader. "He played a better poker hand than I did."

Asked if Bowyer's close battle with Kyle Busch mid-race had sparked any thoughts of opportunities to continue the Harvick/Busch war by taking out the #18, Bowyer replied playfully: "I had orders to wreck him at every chance possible but just couldn't get it done!" before continuing more seriously: "No, man. It's fun racing hard with someone that you know is not gonna crash underneath you. It's cool."

"Glad he could refrain from orders!" replied Busch in similar lighthearted vein. "He tried a couple times ... Nah. It was good hard racing." He conceded that Bowyer's #2 "was definitely the best truck of the night" and added: "He could just stay a lot better on the long run. It seemed like I'd blow the tyres off after about 10 laps and he'd just start getting away from me. Traditional Atlanta, you gotta be better on the long run."




Related Pictures

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Clint Bowyer, driver of the #2 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Dollar General Toyota, lead the field during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Club 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. [Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images]
Ron Hornaday, driver of the #33 Armour/Ingles Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Club 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 2 in Hampton, Ga. [Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images]
Defending Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, races to a second place finish, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS finishes in sixth place, and Martin Truex, Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision finishes in twelfth place Sunday, November 22, 2015 in the final race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Florida. This Chevrolet drivers finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th (respectively) in the Chase of the Cup Championship. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Series championship contenders Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, take part in pre-race ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 AXALTA Chevrolet, and Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with a burnout after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates winning the series championship and the race with his team after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Crispy Toyota, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the series championship and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 22, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, and Daniel Suarez, driver of the #18 ARRIS Toyota, lead the field on the first lap of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Austin Dillon, driver of the #33 Rheem Chevrolet, leads Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, and Regan Smith, driver of the #7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, race during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, races to the finish line to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates winning the series championship with a burnout after the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Fastenal Ford, celebrates winning the series championship with the trophy in Victory Lane during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Crest Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 21, 2015 in Homestead, Florida (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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